After a day of wondering and anticipation, we were fortunate to not be highly affected by the hurricane. We did get some rain, and it was quite windy throughout the night, but overall we did fine. We never lost power and this morning the sun is shining in a cloudless sky and even though it is a bit breezy, it finally cooled down to a comfortable level.
Yesterday was quite sticky and warm – something we are not well equip to deal with here in Nova Scotia. Few people have air conditioning, and the wind was strong so it was not really good to leave the windows open more than an inch or two. I found myself wishing that I lived further up north – maybe in the Yukon – and longing for autumn and winter. (Yes, I am that crazy!) I am one of those fools who doesn’t mind the winter. I don’t mind the snow and cold and look forward to those ‘jammy days’ where I stay inside all day and paint or draw while there is a nice roast or pie cooking in the over. Usually by the end of August I have had it with summer and am ready to move on. But I know if I am patient those days will come soon enough. Autumn is right around the corner.
I did make good use of yesterday and I am extremely proud of what I accomplished. As planned, I cut out all eight of my new bird ornaments and they went without a hitch. I really like when that happens. It isn’t always the case. Sometimes there are little glitches here and there that come up and need adjustment, but this time I must say that things went quite smoothly. It made me think that maybe I do know what I am doing some days after all.
The ornaments took about 20 minutes each to cut, although I didn’t really time them. In the background I chose an array of late 70’s music to keep me moving. It was a nice mix of The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton and some others from the era when I was in high school that set a nice lively background to work against. Since I play my music through my computer, it is easy to throw in a good mix of anything I am in the mood to hear. I played everything on random because I like the ‘surprise’ of hearing a good cut that I hadn’t heard in years, or even a not so familiar song that I barely remembered. It made for a pleasant work place.
When I finished cutting the eight ornaments, I still wanted to cut so I decided to shoot some videos for future classes. These birds were a fine example of a process called ‘veining’ in scroll sawing where you kind of draw with the blade. In essence, you are cutting lines for the sake of showing details and it is common to do so when making feathers on birds and so forth. It isn’t always the easiest part of scroll sawing however, as there are some definite tricks to getting it right and not breaking the pieces.
While I was cutting, I was thinking how I would teach this process and I thought the best way was to actually show people how to do it. There are many ways to do veining and different approaches depending on the situation at hand and overall these birds cover many of them. I picked an ornament with a variety of techniques and I decided to video myself making it from start to finish.
The first part of the video I showed how to prepare the wood. The second part was how to drill the entry holes. (Yes, there is a trick as to figuring out the best places to drill your holes.) The third part was cutting the inside cuts, which need to be cut first. The fourth part was the long outer edge cutting. And finally I wanted to film some suggestions on carefully removing the pattern from the piece, as at this point it was quite delicate.
Things went pretty well I must say. I think I am finally getting the hang of doing these videos. However, some time during the video of me cutting the inside cuts (about 8 minutes into it) the camera just shut off. Of course since I was cutting, I didn’t realize that this happened at all so I kept cutting. The next segment (cutting the long outside area) took probably about ten minutes also and unfortunately there was nothing on film for that part either. I was really kind of sad because I had just spent all that time merrily cutting away and talking to myself and explaining everything as I went along and when looking on the camera to check after I was done that segment was not there. It struck me as strange because the final one of me taking off the pattern was present so I don’t know if I just didn’t hit the button hard enough to start the camera. (That would be something I would do!) But the previous segment of the inside cuts abruptly ended in the middle of what I was doing so I don’t know if I ran out of memory in the camera or if something else I did triggered it to stop. I will have to look into it.
Since the video is for a lesson a little further down the line, I am not that worried about it. I will just try again and be sure to empty the camera before starting. Perhaps with the other segments still on the camera, I had the memory at its limits.
All in all it was a wonderful day’s work. These ornaments are really cool looking and although I still need to make frames for them so that they can hang, the overall designs are nice and I believe they will be popular.
Below is a picture of the bluebird:
What I intend to do is to make a wreath overlay around them so that they can be hung easier. They are quite delicate and I didn’t want to have a hanger or hook from the delicate pieces or drill a hole in their heads. I am thinking I will make a holly wreath overlay to go around them that will still look delicate but be strong enough to hang them by. I think it will add more to them and be the best way to hang them.
I spent the remainder of the day sanding them and getting them ready to be oiled. The picture above shows the ornament before any finish is applied. They are made of maple and I think a nice coat of oil will be great on them. Since I made two sets (I stack cut them) I may even tint one set using the DecoArt gel stain and adding in some color just to see how they would look. I think it would be nice to offer that option on the pattern and that there are people that would like it.
All in all it was a great day. I still have another eight of these little songbirds that I want to draw up, making two complete pattern packets. Even though they took a little longer to draw than I initially anticipated, in the end I feel like the time was well spent and very much worth it. I would far rather spend the time on this end of the process than hurry through the drawing and encounter problems when cutting. In the long run it is far quicker for me to take my time in the beginning and do it right the first time. Quality over quantity and all of that.
So its back to drawing today. It will be quite a pleasure knowing that with care I will have such a nice outcome. (Did I mention that I love my job?)
I wish you all a wonderful Monday!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"